Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

Sullivan and Vukmir - The Campaign

Representative Vukmir, Senator Sullivan

Regarding modern-day political campaigns if there was one thing you could change what would it be?

I happen to have my own views about how to run an election campaign and I was particularly curious about having an opportunity to find out from Vukmir and Sullivan what they felt about this subject and what, if anything, they would change if given the opportunity.

Here is what the candidates had to say.

Vukmir and I talked at length about modern day campaigns - particularly how they've taken on an edginess and meanness that was not as common years ago.  It would be nice to get rid of the misrepresentations and lies - was how she described it.  Yet, how do you do so without infringing on free speech?

I suggested that this cuts both ways.  The reality is everybody does it. 

We talked about the role that campaign strategists play.  The candidate reminded me that people are passionate about what they believe and she was disappointed that the passion, on occassion, reached what she described as - new levels of low.

Vukmir explained that she felt she has been on the receiving end of a disproportionate amount of deceptive campaign advertising.  She also made it clear to this blogger that she, in no uncertain terms, was definitely not playing 'the victim'.  She admitted that it's a tough problem to tackle. 

Calls to reign-in the way we campaign always runs the risk of infringing on our First Amendment right to free speech. 

My takeaway?  For Vukmir it's a frustrating dilemma for sure but you take your lumps.  That's the price you pay.

What she will not support is public financing of campaigns.  I still believe attempts to control campaigns through finance or other laws will infringe on that precious right.

She was unambiguous on that matter.

Sullivan, on the other hand, shared a couple of differing perspectives. 

The impact of of outside money in swaying elections and redistricting policy.

Clearly frustrated by how monied interests can shape events - We need to end the anonymous flow of money into campaigns.  I am concerned that without accountability, elected officials respond to the big contribution groups and not to the centrist concerns of their constituents.

As Sullivan explained it to me the way the system works nowadays - both parties have a strangle-hold on the way things are done.  There are long-term Democrats and Republicans securely ensconced and in control of generally safe positions. 

The system is essentially rigged because the two parties have collaborated with one another to ensure that the lion's share of the legislative seats can only be elected by one party.  The consequence of this is that most seats are essentially out of play.

We need to change the way we draw legislative districts

Sullivan makes the case that a high value should be placed on competitive races - with districts drawn so as not to reflect one party's base over the other. 

He suggests that the 5th Senate, which has alternately been served by Democrats and Republicans, is pretty competitive.  Sullivan was adamant that there be more of the same statewide. 

On deck for Saturday - The Arcane.

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